Psalm 51 & Tools for Purification


What are the specificities from Psalm 51 that can be broadened to refer to our lives? What tools for purification does Psalm 51 explicitly mention and what is implicit?

Cultural practices about how to embrace confession or repentance are varied. Traditional Samoans practiced a form of repentance that involved the penitent sitting beneath a fine mat outside the home of an offended person(s) until the offended person lifted the mat and forgave the penitent of their sin. Reconciliation occurred when the offended physically lifted a burden that the offender could not. Contemporary Fijian culture is permeated by the use of the tambua (sperm whale’s tooth) for communal acts of reconciliation. It is the primary cultural means by which divisions are healed and community is restored. The “tooth” used ritually can cut through any offense, reconcile people, and restore communal harmony. The ritual and the object are an embodiment of the grace and mercy of God that cuts through human offenses and heals rifts so that restoration might occur.

Dr. Paul O. Myhre has written on the intersections between art and theology or religious studies, the study of religion, teaching and learning in theology and religion, theological education, ethics, Christian theology and Native American religions. He has two edited books published by Anselm Academic: Introduction to Religious Studies and Religious and Ethics Perspectives for the Twenty-First Century. Additional work by Dr. Myhre is indicated here.